I attempted to join a virtual book club for upper elementary grades with other teacher bloggers, and we were supposed to read The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by the beginning of May. I got distracted by other projects and did not read it until this weekend. I think the book would frustrate many readers today because it is a slower pace with more difficult vocabulary, but I liked it. The language and sentence structure is more sophisticated than books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and it has more substance.
Calpurnia lives in a rural area in Texas and spends much of the book with her grandfather pursuing her interest in nature and Darwin’s theory of evolution. I would classify the book as historical fiction and group it with other books about life on the prairie or frontier. Some of these titles are my favorites from when I was growing up. I read the Little House books repeatedly. I always loved stories where the characters had to grow their own food, build their own homes, and live off the land. When I started building a list of other books that fall in this genre, I realized that the majority have girl main characters– hmmm.
1700s (Settlers and The American Revolution)
- The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz
- The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh
- Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
1800s (Westward Expansion)
- Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
- Little House on the Prairie series Laura Ingalls Wilder
- May B. by Caroline Starr Rose
- My Antonia by Willa Cather (middle and high school readers)
- Sarah, Plain and Tall series by Patricia MacLachlan
1900s (Mostly Around The Great Depression)
- The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
- Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
- Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
- Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright
- Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
- The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rowlings
Do you have a favorite read that is this style of book? It is a type of survival book, but the characters usually have resources and family or friends, and they work together to succeed.